Eyelashes

by mssinglemama on December 27, 2008

All of Benjamin’s life people have commented on his eyelashes.

“They’re from his father,” I say. They are amazing. Like little butterfly wings.

He also has his father’s body – his shoulders, his legs, his torso and even his little butt. But he has my smile, my eyes and my eyebrows. Like any mother, I day dream about what kind of a man Benjamin will become. But unlike most mothers, I hope against all hopes that, aside from the physical resemblance, that my son is nothing like his father.

——-

His father is the mysterious man who shows up once a week to pick him up for an overnight. We barely know each other any more. I can’t even remember what it felt like to be in love with him – I must have been delusional, I think. There’s nothing there now. Nothing at all. Just a shadow of the girl I used to be… a naive girl who would fall for a man and marry him on a whim because he needed a Green card.

Here’s the thing, when you’re a little girl and you dream of that damn prince and the castle you forget to dream about how he’ll be as a father. At least I did.

This dream surfaces, for some of us, in the form of a blinding nightmare because it’s after we’ve already had his child. And it dawns on us that we’ve bred with a rotten apple, a dud, a bad father.

But how do you tell what kind of a father a man will be until he is actually tested? How do you really know? I’m not sure if I have the answer. But I think it starts by measuring how they love you, how they treat the future mother of their children.

——-

On Christmas morning – after he opened his stocking and a massive Thomas track from Grandma…

Benjamin’s eyelash donor showed up to take him for the night.

My mother, had been mumbling her protest to the idea all morning, “He’s too sick! Tell him he’s too sick. He can’t take him on Christmas.”

“I know, Mom. I know. But he is his father. He gets to see him on Christmas.”

She shook her head, unable to comprehend having to share her child with a virtual stranger. Sharing your child, if you think about it, is not a natural experience for any mother.

Thirty minutes later Benjamin was cuddled in his father’s arms, ready to go and eagerly shouting his name.

But his father had ignored him twice now – too busy talking our ears off with another one of his stories. I had trained myself long ago to listen to these narratives without interrupting. You just have to listen and nod your head, it’s really fucked up.

And if you want something, you have to ask very, very nicely.

So I did. Because I wanted my kid with me on Christmas night.

“You know what?” I say as sweetly as possible, “Why don’t I come get him at 4:30. I don’t think he should stay at your place because we’ve been so sick.”

“Yeah. Okay,” he says, “We wanted to spend some time alone tomorrow anyway.”

We being he and his girlfriend.

It’s funny. Because after all of this time I still expect something from him, some kind of protest, some kind of sentence like, “But I haven’t seen him in a week” or “I really want to take him to this cool park I found.”

Five hours later I bust out of my sick funk to go pick up Benjamin at his father’s place – technically his girlfriend’s place. She opens the door for me. Inside it’s dark and small. I can’t imagine living here with him. Our old town house had been four times this size and, even there, I couldn’t hide from him. Here, she had no where – not a solitary inch of the place to herself.

She’s still as frail and as beat down as she was the first time we met. I can tell she’s scared of him and unlike me, unable to stand up for herself.

Benjamin hadn’t eaten or napped while he was there and he passed out in my car within seconds it seemed. Utterly exhausted. We both were. It’s draining. It really is… especially when you’re so damn sick.

We still are by the way. I don’t even know how many days it’s been now. But now, Benjamin has passed his flu on to me. So it’s a cold and flu for Mommy while he just has the remnants of the flu. I’m just hoping at this point I’ll be able to work on Monday. I would call his father but I know there’s nothing he would do… believe me, I’ve called before.

Maybe I should move to Alaska or something.

Related posts:

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  4. A Letter To the “Other Woman”:
  5. Ex-mas Etiquette

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Evasion?
November 25, 2009 at 6:24 am

{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

LTP December 27, 2008 at 12:22 pm

I had to let my two little ones go on Christmas afternoon with their dad….and it was all I could do to not bolt into the house before the tears started. After two years of this, I thought it would get easier or at least I’d be used to it–but it isn’t–in fact, the older Henry becomes (he is now 7) and the more conversational Will becomes (he’s nearly 4), it’s even harder…because they are not only my children, but “people” I want to be around. When they are not here, our house is eerily quiet and completely devoid of life (other than my maniacal kitten, Edward). It isn’t that their dad is a “bad” dad–in fact, it’s the opposite actually–which I guess is what makes it harder in some ways. At least if we were an awful or less-than-enthusiastic dad, I could justify getting upset….

Hang in there….I’ll be doing the same. Sending hugs to you both. : )

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Erin December 27, 2008 at 2:10 pm

Isn’t it crazy how one day we wake up and think “Wait a second…I procreated with THAT?” Lucky for me, at this time, Colin’s father isn’t at all interested in him, holidays or otherwise.

Also, Colin got that same train for Christmas. It was absolute HELL to put together!

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mssinglemama December 27, 2008 at 2:21 pm

LTP:

I know exactly what you mean, but I guess be lucky your kids have such a great father.

Erin:

I know! It was hell… I scrambled to get it together before his father got over. We made it in the knick of time though. I loved the little exclamation points in the directions – like, “Let’s build the bridge!”

The toy – btw – is the Thomas Discovery set. And it currently has a nice, happy home… at Grandma’s house.

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bobby December 27, 2008 at 3:13 pm

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen mothers chomp at the bit to not tell their child why Daddy hasn’t picked them up, or been around in a while etc. The Mom has to cover for it all.

The outcome though, is that when the child gets older, they ALWAYS realize who was the parent taking care of them!

Keep up the good work and feel better.

Happy holidays :)

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Amanda December 27, 2008 at 3:29 pm

My daughter has amazing eyelashes too, from her father of course.

At least he saw him on xmas. My daugthers father didn’t arrive till like 12:30 am, after she was long asleep. I was cuddled up on the couch with a nice glass of wine sitting next to the xmas tree and by the fire alone. Ugh. So he saw her the day after, when he arrived at midnight and she was still awake.

Our schedules are a little crazy we’re enjoying winter break from college and daycare.

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Lisa D December 27, 2008 at 3:44 pm

It’s interesting to think about how you can assess the kind of father they will be. I don’t have kids yet, but it’s something I think about when I date men. My last boyfriend was nice to my nephews and quite popular with them, but he always made negative comments to me about how they shouldn’t make so much noise/run around so much/etc. Um, hello, they were 2 & 4. Wtf? What else does a kid at that age do? So yah, that was a big red flag for me. I know having your own kids is completely different, but he was just so critical of them.

I spent Christmas at my aunts – my cousin was there with his 2 kids that are 4 & almost 2. He cheated on his wife this year & they are in the midst of the divorce. I had the hardest time even looking him in the eye or talking to him. The whole time, I just kept thinking about the kids’ mother & how sad it was that his actions meant she had to spend Christmas Day without her boys. Just heart breaking.

I hope you are on the mend, Alaina, and are 100% by the end of the weekend. I hope you are able to work on Monday or have some vacation time you can use or something. Thinking of you & hoping you are healing!

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Amanda December 27, 2008 at 9:34 pm

By the way my daughters eyelashes look the same upon further inspection!

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v421/Pinkdancingirl/Christmas%20shoot/IMG_5581b.jpg

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Laura December 27, 2008 at 10:09 pm

WOW those eyelashes are amazing!!!

Ditto to Amanda – at least he pitches! Mine didnt even get a phone call. Like you I think I was highly medicated or possessed by something when I married him!!!!

Hope you guys feel better ASAP!!!!!

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Heidi (Singleworkingmama) December 27, 2008 at 10:56 pm

I know that feeling… The “I don’t remember loving him” feeling! It’s unbelievable! My son looks an awful lot like his dad, but it’s funny… People who we’ve met since my split frequently comment that he’s my spitting image!

Cute little guy… Get well!

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Sheila December 27, 2008 at 11:37 pm

His eyelashes ARE amazing. :) Sending healing thoughts to the two of you.

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Dawn December 28, 2008 at 6:40 am

It might be nice if our sons had real men in their lives to admire, to emulate … instead they have us … lucky you, lucky me!

“Eyelash Donor” says so much. And I love his dreamy hair!

Hope your Sunday brings you closer to feeling one hundred percent!

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Leah December 28, 2008 at 9:41 am

Such a gorgeous boy you have there. I wonder when my son’s eyelashes will stop growing! He does need to see, after all! :)

Our stories have the green card thing in common. I married my ex at age 22 in order to save him from deportation! At the time I knew that I didn’t want to get married but I did want to help him. Hey – no regrets…

You inspire me by how you interact with the new girlfriend so kindly. I can’t imagine meeting the new wife. I’ve never met her and she scares me, frankly. I guess you just have to work with the situation at hand as best you can.

Hope you all are able to lick the serial flu-passing. I know how tough these winters can be. Hang in there, mama.

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cyndi December 28, 2008 at 9:55 am

I avoided sending him away for Christmas by having X spend the whole day here. I’m not sure which is worse. I’m pretty sure I must have been drugged my entire marriage. And really, why DO the boys get the best eyelashes? Mine inherited his from his dad too. Not fair at all.

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April December 28, 2008 at 11:42 am

I know how frustrating it is when the person who helped make them isn’t nearly so concerned about being an actual parent. I didn’t have to move to Alaska, though. He moved instead. Maybe you’ll be so lucky!

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Katherine (SOLO dot MOM) December 28, 2008 at 12:35 pm

Hey I know it’s tough giving up the kiddo on Christmas, it was for me too! Hope you feel all better real soon….

We need to catch up sometime….

Kathy

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Kelly December 28, 2008 at 2:33 pm

It can be really hard to let them go on Christmas. I switch off years on who gets the kids. This year they’re off in another state. They left on the 23rd and don’t come back til Jan 3rd. The house is way too quiet and lonely without them. I have to remind myself that the kids are lucky that their dad loves them and likes being around them, as well as their other grandparents. I know they are having a wonderful time in the snow.

It is true that the kids will one day realize who has always been there for them, who has made them the top priority over everything else. When their dad cancels plans for the weekend, right now it doesn’t affect them cause I don’t tell them about going until he is on his way to pick them up. That saves me the problem of drying tears over their dad. Somewhat selfish, but overall easier for everyone.

Hang in there everybody- those who have kids that are away- they come back with smiles, hugs and kisses for you to make it all better.

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mssinglemama December 28, 2008 at 6:58 pm

You are all so amazing… thanks for the tips and fantastic advice.

It is true – the kids know what’s up.

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Kelly December 29, 2008 at 2:14 pm

It must be really hard to part with your child on a holiday. I enjoy the ocassional night to myself, but not on Christmas! Our situation is different… my 12 yo daughter’s dad didn’t want anything to do with her until a couple of years ago. Now that he’s come back around, the situation is really awkward for her so she refuses to be around him without me. So there is no dad picking her up and taking her off for a day or two. There’s all of us – me, my daughter, him and his wife spending time together, and me thinking “really? I loved this guy once?” So I’m not sure what I’d prefer…. being forced to hang out with the ex and be cordial, or having my daughter taken from me every other weekend and on holidays.

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Nina December 29, 2008 at 9:46 pm

here’s what I was trying to say above (now on treo). my son looks exactly like his father. I’m ok with that. I think he’s an attractive guy and my son is stinkin’ cute – ask anyone! :) I grew up with a half-brother who looks/talks/walks/eats exactly like his (my) father. the parents by mutual agreement had decided to care for the kids with the mothers (4 parents, switched spouses) so he was w his mother who was vitrolic in her hatred of my father, who didn’t return to her despite her having a boy for him, and her anger at how much her son acted like him even thoug they rarely saw each other…that boy is now an angry, bitter, drug addict who hates himself and really how could he not growing up being told he was the spitting image of someone his mother hated? I loved the potential of my son’s father- the reality not so much – but I’ve been lucky enough to have a perfect child who makes my soul happy. I want him to know and grow into his potential of goodness. and I’m responsible for picking his father so…we all make bad choices…but sometimes good comes of them. I guess I’m lucky that I’ve always said to myself I would only marry the man I want my son to grow to be and my daughters to marry and my sons father isn’t that so I said no to his multiple proposals. maybe its easier to not be as upset since there wasn’t an expectation created by marriage. or its just I never expected to have a child and just am in aweand rejoice daily that I do. and it could be I’ve experienced so much anger and hatred growing up that I never want my son to…im sure you’re just venting here but I just worry for kids who feel the hurt, hatred, anger and take it on themselves when they shouldnt, ya know? anyway I hope you feel better soon :)

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Nina December 29, 2008 at 10:05 pm

I don’t know if I expressed that well or if this will but i’ll try and then shut up cause your probably sick of me. a few months ago I was crying to my sister because my father had forgotten my son’s first birthday (and mine but I’m used to that) and it hurt me for my son. and she said I’m really sorry you’re sad but its not different than the same thing you’ve been sad about your whole life. and while honesty is not much appreciated (at least by me) when you’re hurting later you can step back and say yeah, that’s true. so what is going to change? is my father at 70 yrs old suddenly going to show me he cares? is he suddenly going to follow through and be reliable and make me a priority in his life? um NO. so I can continue to waste the energy on something that will.not.change or I can spend it on stuff that matters – making a beautiful life for me and my son even if that means without grandparents or his father. I have NO expectation of any involvement from his father and its the most relieving thing ever. we recently started talking again for some health info and still I have no expectation…but I don’t want to have negative feelings towards him because I don’t want my son to feel less than due to biology. so it helps to interact civily, for me. but I also have to steel myself to not be hurt at what I see as rejection of my son but his father said to me its not, it is a failing on my part and has nothing to do with A.

you have a beautiful son. he has a beautiful mother. you have a beautiful life together with a little blip of his father. it is what it is. its hard not to hurt for your son but I guess I’m saying don’t let that anger and hurt, hurt your son. it won’t change his father no matter how right you are and how wrong he is…ok slinking away now to be silent, promise! :)

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Tina December 30, 2008 at 11:09 am

I hope you are feeling better, both of you.
Beautiful and haunting post.

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pixiemama January 1, 2009 at 11:47 pm

Both of my children have these eyelashes. So I know what you mean with butterflies batting their wings. But they always manage to stop me in my tracks when I see them in their sleep. Their closed eyes seem to just be hidden behind these graceful dark resting lashes… I can only wonder what dreams lay behind.

I also know what you mean when you say that you barely know that mysterious man that shows up once a week. It has only been 9 months since we separated but it seemed as if an overnight change happened…. but I am not going to get into that. I just hope and hope that my son turns out to be a man capable of a deep, honest and loving relationship when he grows up even though I doubt men are capable.
As far as your comments about your naivety and your dreams of prince charming; Well I have made it my mission to shield my daughter from the culture that portraits men as the rescuers. There will be no Cinderellas in this house.

Thank you for your blog. …it was much needed today

PXM

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pixiemama January 1, 2009 at 11:49 pm

I reread my comments and realized how bitter I sounded…

So tomorrow I may be optimistic :)

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xDrGirlFriendx January 9, 2009 at 12:54 pm

My son has eyelashes to die for as well. All of the guys in my family do. Me? I need 10 coats of mascara to even compete!

Ben is a beauty for sure!

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Serenadragon January 17, 2009 at 9:26 am

I’m with pixiemama on this one – it’s been 11months since i split from the ex, we’ve been divorced 4months. I do remember how it felt to love him, but it’s almost like it happened in another life, or that those emotions belonged to another person. It surprises me how quickly that love died, when we had been together for almost 18 years. My children are older than a lot of the children of regular commenters here – 10 & 15, and i find it difficult that my teen is seeing so clearly when his father prioritises the single man lifestyle over his children. He keeps reminding me that when he turns 16 he will be the one arranging contact with his dad -( I anticipate from his comments that it will be less and only on his terms, this is kinda sad)

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